In today’s society, one very controversial or highly debated issue is …. Transgender serving in the military. President Trump had issued a ban on transgender joining the military, and General Mattias had overridden President Trump’s ban and allowed the transgender troops to serve. Most US troops (most of them are transgender), and the rest of the US population had protested against it. In this debate, some people believe/feel that transgender troops shouldn’t serve, because it’s a psychological disorder (GID), the mission should be the priority, not gender identity, it will cost taxpayers, money, and it will affect readiness. I believe/feel that being I’m a combat vet, we need to be mentally physically and tough to do this job. War zones get very dangerous. The military is short-handed presently, and the leadership needs work. Introducing a person who is confused about their identity will create unnecessary chaos. Priority should be spent on Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR). Weapons and equipment also should be the focus because we need it for defense. Transgender should not serve, because the soldier has to be medically ready to go to battle at any time, morale needs to be intact, and privacy needs respected.
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President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender joining and staying in the military was in full effect, nothing was official. Not only from the public but from General Mattais who would not approve it, and what a backlash of response that came back. Most of the back lash came from people that are against the ban. The LGBT community came in on it like a flash. It seems like this issue wasn’t relevant until PFC Bradley Manning, who was court-martialed for giving away military classified information to Wikileaks, wanted to change his gender while he was confined. Even so, transgender is a psychological disorder by the name of Gender Identity Disorder(GID), and one thing the military doesn’t need is a person who has psychological issues. There are studies conducted to clarify what a transgender goes through:
A recent study by Blosnich et al. reviewed all health records of veterans receiving health care through the Veteran Health Administration from 2000 through 2011 and found a prevalence of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) five times that of the US general population. Though Individuals with GID diagnosis may or may not identify as transgender, the substantially higher prevalence of GID among veterans in the VHA system provides further evidence that transgender people are overrepresented in the US military (Gates pg. 5).
Regular soldiers are committing suicide at an alarming rate. Assist classes are put into place to address the issue of suicide in active military. Veteran Affairs are addressing the issue with the crisis phone line that operates 24/7. Surprisingly, transgender in the general population, is at an even higher rate of suicide. Ryan T Anderson addresses this in his article, “5 Good Reason’s Why Transgender Accommodations Aren’t Compatible With Military Realities”, that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender, will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Anderson also says that people who have transitioned, dies 19 times more than average by suicide. With suicide in the military being a problem, it seems like transgender will add fuel to fire. Also, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse which soldiers use to counter PTSD after exposure to be being deployed, transgender has a higher rate of that than the civilian population also. It is a scary scenario and a behavior health nightmare. Therapies should, before any enlistment or while serving, should address the gender dysphoria by focusing on embracing the truth about their bodies and reality of it.
When you are an active duty soldier, to maintain your medical readiness, you are on a profile, which means if you get hurt in the line of duty like marching, physical fitness, or just doing your job, you are giving limited time to heal up from it. For example, if you broke your leg running or pull a muscle ruck marching, you will get treated and will have documentation that you can’t do anything physical, depending on how severe your injury is. After that, you get a grace period of at least 90 days to recover so as to return to full duty. That means you are fully mission-capable to move forward in operations. Mentally you have to be fit. Let say you have a mental breakdown, you will go to a mental hospital for at least two weeks until you get the sign off that you are okay. If the mental health problem is severe, the soldier will get discharged out the military. Physically you have to be ready by passing an APFT (Aptitude Physical Fitness Test). The test shows your ability to run or walk a distance for a specific amount of time, a certain number of sit-ups that is timed, and pushups the same manner. Most soldiers do pass the APFT, because soldiers are subject to physical exercises every day. Weapons qualification is another requirement. Shoot a target with 40 rounds of magazines is the requirement and the minimum are 32 rounds out of 40. Finally, you have to maintain your weight, and your (BMI) Body Mass index which checks the fat level against your weight and height. All these requirements keep you ready to go to war. Now with all that, transgender’s readiness is questionable for combat. Transgender goes through a lot of surgery for reassignment. According to Anderson, “But soldiers who have ‘transitioned’ medically, require hormone treatments and follow-up visits after sex-reassignment surgery. It is clear how someone who has “transitioned” would not be ready to deploy.” (Anderson pg. 3) Regular soldiers get surgery because they are hurt in the line of duty or by in combat. It would seem unfair to waste medical treatment on someone who wants surgery other than for combat or readiness reasons.
What about the taxpayers whose money is used to pay for this? I think it borders on Fraud, waste and abuse, and according to Elaine Donnelly, who was on C-Span discussing the proposed transgender ban says:
We need to reassess everything put in place by the previous administration and reinstate sound policy that will benefit everyone, including all of us and taxpayers, we don’t want defense dollars used for transgender surgeries that attempt to change appearances but don’t really change gender or solve the underlying psychological problem. (Elaine Donnelly)
Right now, military recruiter’s hands are full, trying to get qualified people in the military.
Active duty military health cost is skyrocketing, because of war injuries, and
veterans with disabilities. Not to mention we are still taking care of World War II, Vietnam, and
Desert Storm veterans with a host of sicknesses. According to Agnes Shaefer’s book, the health
cost will increase between $24 million and $8.4 million annually. (Shaefer)
There is some opposition to this though. Most people think that transgender should serve despite the setbacks of it. For example, in response to psychological reasons, the counterargument is as pointed out by Retired Brigadier General Tomas Kolditz, a former Army Commander and West Point professor, referred to Private First-Class Bradley Manning, who was convicted of giving classified documents to Wikileaks, that the reason Manning did what he did was because he was under stress for hiding his preferred gender identity. It contributed to his irrational behavior of sending the classified information, an act of treason. Contrary to this is, if hiding the identity pushes someone to be a traitor to his country while serving, then what happens if the soldier is captured. They will be a danger to their comrades by violating the Code of Conduct or get assaulted by the enemy even more because they are transgender. This would make it a more hostile environment, hold up accomplishing missions, and put soldiers’ lives in danger. Why would we want to do that to our troops, especially when it’s our job to defend?
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While some people believe, that the mission is to defend the country despite the barriers unrelated to qualifications of the transgender. It’s actually the opposite. What they fail to consider is, the plan is to restrict deployments of transgender from austere environments if they can’t get medical care in remote areas. They can’t deploy until 180 days are up after enlisting so that they are stable in their new gender. The clue word is stable. So, soldiers will have to cover down to take up the slack of that soldier for six months which is the length of a deployment. When boots hit the ground in the war zone, sometimes you encounter the enemy right away. So, while a transgender soldier is trying to fix their personal identity issue, soldiers are picking up his weight to defend. That’s a disadvantage for missions. Before you take the oath, and even after, it’s all about defending the country first and foremost. Usually that is as soon as you finish basic combat training and advance training in your occupation. Priorities are being lost here.
Some experts think that the cost is low for transgender surgery and recovery, and that there is a small number of soldiers transitioning to this reassignment surgery. However, this is not true, according to Veteran’s Health Administration report, active duty military health cost will increase between $24 million and $84 million annually, and even more for transgender surgery. Money that can be spent on equipment, MWR, and weapons not some personal issues with identity issues. We have to focus on fighting power, training, recruitment of quality soldiers, because we still have Global War on Terrorism.
The ban on transgender in the military should be in place. There are at least three reasons that addressed why they shouldn’t serve. Personally, I think the military should stay the way it is. Serving in the military is a very extensive life. A soldier is sharing a life with hundreds of people in remote areas, tight living spaces, and hostile environment. Just keeping soldiers in line as a Sergeant is tough enough, but adding another element will break people. A soldier has to be mentally sound with others while holding a fully loaded weapon which means looking after each other. There’s no choice, that person life is in each other’s hands. Stirring the pot of social issues that has nothing to do with readiness in not a good thing. Civilian life sure, but the military, no. It will be expensive, taxing, and unfair to the ones that have to pick up the slack. I think people should just leave some things alone. Transgender in the military is one of them.
This topic is important to me, because I am a retired Army Sergeant with four deployments since Desert Storm. I was in when it was a more Christian military, and the Articles and Nonjudicial punishments, and Code Of Conduct was the bible of the military. Society, I think is going down the toilet. I am glad I am out of the military. It will be more dangerous now because the discipline and military law are killed. People need to just stop using the military as a social experiment. The military is here to defend the Constitution not to be a Reality TV episode.
The military ban is important, and people need to open their minds to it. Most of the people, even the military ones have never been to combat, so how would they know.
Works Cited Page
- Abbott Alden “Contra Activist Judges, It’s Discriminating to Prohibit Transgender Individuals From Joining Military.” Daily Signal Dec 2017 Web.
- Agnes Gerben Shafer, Radha Iyengar, Srikanth Kadiyala, Jennifer Kavanagh, Charles C. Engle, Kayla M. William, Amii. Kress. Assessing the Implication of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly, Rand Corporation: 2016. Print.
- Allen, Jeff. “Transgender People Should be Banned from Military Service.” Transgender People, edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At issue Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010712229/OVIC?u=brookdale&sid=OVIC&xid=2664b005. Accessed 16 April 2018. Originally published as “Left-Wing Pressure Mounts to Lift Ban on Cross-Dressers in Military” 114 Mar 2014.
- Anderson, Ryan T, “5 Good Reasons Why Transgender Accommodations Aren’t Compatible with Military Realities.” (2017) 11-4 Web.
- “Editorial: Making Way for Transgender Troops.” Chicago Tribune and Issues & Controversies. InfoBase Learning, http://icof.infobaselearning.com. Accessed 16 Apr 2018
- Gates, GJ and Herman, JL. 2014. “Transgender Military Service in the United States.” Williams Institute UCLA School of Law.
- “Elain Donnelly on Trump Administration Proposal Transgender Military Ban.” C-Span.org. National Cable Satellite Corporation, 29 July 2017.
- Lamothe Dan, “5 Issues The US Military Must Still Address About Allowing Transgender Service “The Washington Post July 1, 2016 Print.
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